Any Other Hen Do!

The AOW Hen Do is something that sprang in its entirety from Twitter.  You know what happens, someone suggests something as a joke, and then someone else points out that that’s a great idea, and then fifty million people all concur that it’s the best ides EVER and when is it happening?  I’m pretty sure all revolutions start that way.  

But it made sense, perfect sense.  We have brides that are an integral part of this community getting married this year.  Why shouldn’t we hold an AOW Hen Do for them all?    

Gemma, Amy and I plotted in the downstairs cells of the Southwark Tavern, fuelled by their sweet potato wedges.  The lovely Katielase worked hard to find a date that worked for the majority, if not for everyone.  And Gemma wrote about it.  Over to you, Geems!: 


The best hen dos I’ve ever been on have all combined the general: the uncontrollable, ‘something excellent is about to happen any second now……!’ euphoria of the bus on the way to school camp, with the specific: a celebration of the girl who’s getting married and what she does, who she is, and what she loves. (because if a wedding isn’t celebrating what the bride loves, then you’re planning the wrong kind of party).

All images from Pinterest

So it all started with Amy’s Books That Made Me Me –  one of which was Ballet for Drina.  Ballet for Drina and the rest of the series of ballet books by Jean Estoril made a HUGE impression on me and one of the first things I did when first moved to the UK was to visit Red Lion Square.  Fast forward a little, and Amy and I met (along with others) at PenDo last February and discussed our mutual love for Drina, and then I swung my wineglass into the air and said ‘I’m going to plan you a Drina-themed hen do!’

Now it needs to be mentioned here that, at PenDo, all of our theories that a Hen type party involving girls who’d met via AOW were absolutely exceeded.  And since then, there’s been the second Any Other Party in London, one in Manchester, as well as numerous other meetups.  Lots of us now count each other as ‘proper friends’ ie, the girls you’d like to have around at your hen do, if you were a planning bride.  And also since then, while I’ve been saying to Amy ‘The pub in Red Lion Square!’ ‘We’ll ALL wear tutus!’ ‘Could we dance in the fountain?‘ Other brides-to-be have been talking about an Any Other Hen Do.  Becca ‘fessed that she’d quite fancy a Pink Ladies themed one.  The amazing Katielase came on board to start canvassing for dates.  Anna broke the news to Amy and I that perhaps not everyone will want to wear a tutu.  We’ve come to terms with it, and here we are.

The Any Other Hen Do.  Not Just for Amy, but for ALL the brides to be who read AOW, whether they’re once-a-day commenters, or have stumbled across the site for the first time today.  And every reader is invited.

The date: Saturday 2 March 2013

The location: starting off in the Red Lion Pub, in Red Lion Square, in that there London, early in the day.  We’ll then be going for food and/or drinks at Ping Pong, where you can eat as much or as little as you like, and where they also do EXCELLENT non-alcoholic cocktails as well as a full booze list.  We’ll then be heading for cocktails and dancing.  We’re hoping that as many people as possible will be able to come to at least one part of the day.

The dress code: tutus (ok, netting skirts we’ve hand sewn together the night before) will be worn by Amy and I.  Oh, and by Crysta.  We’ll be bringing sashes for all, spare tutus, and potentially headbands.  A pink ladies bomber jacket may be worn by Becca (here’s hoping)  and we thought it might be a good idea to set a loose peach/purple theme – a, so that we can easily identify each other and b, well, why wouldn’t you?  There’s absolutely no pressure to conform to the colour or dress code however.


So…readers.  Who’d like to join us?  You can come for as much or as little of the fun as you like.  You can turn up, decide we’re all one step away from madness and scurry off…or you can come, realise you’ve found your spiritual home, buy a drink and feel like you’ve come home (hint: it’s usually the latter that happens, at our meet-ups).

Leave a comment below if you’d like to join in, so we have a rough idea of numbers…and we’ll get an email out to you all with the details!


Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW, Family, Friends and Relationships
80 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m still wearing a tutu!

    • Becca
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I’m wearing a TUTU and a PINK LEATHER JACKET.

      Think it’ll be a rough luxe kind of look. Gotta love how much AnnaK LOVES rough luxe.

      • Becca
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        OMG OMG OMG….you can buy peach netting at Shepherds bush for SEVENTY FIVE PENCE A METRE

  2. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’m being stupid or haven’t read it properly in EXCITEMENT but where in the world is that? London?
    Anyway, I’m IN! I hope, please, as long as trains aren’t a fortune, please, love you all.

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I send this. I have no idea where this is :(

      • Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        second* stupid autocorrect.

      • Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Me neither, but it sounds awesome!! Please let it be somewhere close (ish) to me!! xox

        • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          I’ve posted a map further down the comments

    • Gemma C-S
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Katy and all – it IS in London. Which I know isn’t the centre of everyone’s universe. xx

  3. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I will be en route to Italy so sadly will miss you all again! Have a fabulous time my lovelies.


    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink


    • Clare
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Penster – how does this keep happening?! Why does the universe conspire to keep you away from all of our parties?!

  4. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Pick me! Pick me! I’ll be there with bells on! I can’t say I’ll be making my tutu, though. Unless there’s a crochet/knitting pattern for one…

    Very, very excited. I don’t have any peach or purple, though…Excuse to go shopping!

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m going to buy one from ebay!
      Incidentally I do have a mint green one in my wardrobe (waits for Bex to see this comment)

      • Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        I’ve JUST SEEN IT!!! I’m so there and SO wearing your mint green tutu (clearly the colour code doesn’t apply to me right Gems!?) xx

  5. Mahj
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I’m IN! And coincidentally have a Pink Ladies jacket!


  6. Zan
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    OH SO EXCITING! And so annoying I can’t make it :( (boo).

    Ah well – someone can wear an extra tutu/jacket/sash for me right? x

  7. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, awesome. I might even be able to come even as I’m not away at the end of February anymore! I’ll have a wee wander over to the Trainline now and see how much tickets down to London are then! xxx

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Come, Lara, come to London…. *this is your subconscious*

      • Clare
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        Hahahahahah! Nice work Katy! Xx

  8. Amanda
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    So do you have to be a bride-to-be to come? I’m a nearly-bride, only having been married 2 months! But I am London based. And I own a purple top (I think). Not doing the tutu thing though – remember the hippos in Fantasia? Quite.

    • Gemma C-S
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      No of course you don’t have to be a bride to be to come! It’s open to all! x

  9. Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    OMG. Just googled Ping Pong. DimSus is like my most favourite food evahhhh. Therefore I am most obviously in. :D x

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      goodness I hate my phone I really do. Or my fat fingers. Less dim sum req.

  10. Katie
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Have a fabulous time. I’m determined I’m going to join one of your meet-ups, one day, just not this one as I’ll have a three hour train journey, and a fortnight old baby.

    Can’t wait to see the photos.


    • Clare
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      I formally suggest right now that at some point we have a children welcome AOP, so that all of us with children can come too? Imagine – the next generation of AOW all in one room!

  11. Katielase
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    None of you will ever know the pain it caused me to realise that the most suitable date for everyone was the one date I couldn’t do. I nearly sabotaged the spreadsheet in my favour, but I couldn’t bring myself to falsify a spreadsheet, it isn’t in me

    *cries forever*

    K xx

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


      • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        What Katylkh said. Gut to the ted!

        • Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          You threw yourself on the peach and grey sword for the greater good – this is why I love you Katie. Another meet-up soon please that will be entirely based around when you can do!!


          • Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            This is why AOW is a wonderful place. The community is greater than the individual. Hope you have equally lovely things to do on that day.

  12. Alex
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Ahh I will be in Thailand but I really would love to meet you all one day..even though I don’t comment everyday I always read and your all so lovely. Can’t wait to see pics of this day…mainly tutu’s!


  13. Yanthé
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    My diary is free and I know exactly where Red Lion Square is, I walked through it this morning in fact!

    I take these things as a sign and therefore I am IN! Will look for sea of peach and purple.

  14. Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  15. Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink


    I am on holiday that weekend (en route from anyway) *wails and gnashes teeth* GUTTED x

  16. Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, this sounds interesting – VERY interesting. When you say ‘early’ do you mean sort of 11am, or sort of 5pm, or sort of 7pm? Just assessing train feasibility…!

    K x

    • Aisling
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I heard from a reliable source that kick off is around 2pm…


      • Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        *immediately goes to*

        • Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          I’m in!


          Will be heading into Euston if anyone else is

          K x

  17. Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink


    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps your caps lock fiasco this weekend was your computer practicing for your excitement today?

  18. Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I am tweeting links to tutus!

  19. Steff
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    This sounds so freaking amazing, I’m devastated that once again I won’t be able to make it. Huffy pants well and truly on.

    If there is Skype action though as twitter would suggest I will be all over that like a rash. It’s totally not child abuse to dress 2 <1 month old babies in tutus right?! Xx

  20. Leni
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Oh my gosh! I would love to come! I only got brave enough to start commenting a week ago, and I don’t think I’ve made a new friend in about 10 years, but if I down a couple of bottles of rescue remedy on the train then hopefully I won’t be totally socially inept and quivering in the corner. Freaking excited (and only a tiny bit scared..) x

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be scared! Everyone will be a bit nervous. We’re all super nice I promise. At the last meet up in December (my first one), it was like meeting people you’d known forever, not like strangers at all.

      If you want to meet me somewhere a bit earlier you can, save the walking in on your own thing. Let me know if you’d like to. My email is

      Where are you travelling in from?
      Anna x

    • Becca
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      I’ll meet you at KGX if you like. I’ll be the one in a tutu and a hen do sash.

      • Leni
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Anna and Becca – Thankyou so much. You are all such lovely welcoming ladies! I am coming in from Surrey so into Waterloo but I could easily come to KGX Becca. Anna, I will email you tomorrow as I am struggling to type and watch Great British Comic Relief Bake off at the same time! xx

  21. Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh ladies. I’d not been able to get online all afternoon, and now I’m sat on my commute home grinning like a loon. Your excitement is infectious. I love that you’re making plans, and coming, and those of you who can’t, we will work the next meet up around you…I love that you’re all so bought into the madness and the tutus and the friendship. This place is special.

    I can’t wait. The thought of peach netting makes me want to gag (becca knows this!) but I promise to stick to the colour code.

    Anyone considering coming, who i nervous, or thinking twice, email me, I’ll arrange to meet you beforehand. No one should gave to walk in alone! (unless you want to)

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      “Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd You’ll neverrrrrrrrrr walk aloooooooooooooone….”

      I don’t even support Liverpool

  22. Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    *really quietly* I think I would like to come…

    • Aisling
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      *really loudly* YAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY!

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      woohoo! Come, come, come.

    • Clare
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Go go go! Caroline – I guarantee you will meet at least one new ‘real-life’ friend there.

      • Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I am away for the hubbys bday till the morning but could be in town by 4ish…
        I am super scared!!

        • Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          Me too, I’ve never actually met someone from the web in real before, it’s like internet dating! But knowing the AOW lot I know it’ll be fine and I can’t just NOT meet them… We will be fine! xxx

          • Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            Truly, I was terrified before meeting Anna K, Mahj, Zan and Bella in Manchester. My brain kept telling me they are so cool, sophisticated and knowledgeable, they can’t POSSIBLY want to know someone like me. That all ended 5 minutes into meeting them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, both of you!

            P.S. there’s a part of me that’s terrified about meeting everyone all over again. There’s another part saying it’s going to be GREAT!

          • Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Ha, nor have I and Mr W was teasing me about it last night. Until I pointed out that I had met *him* on the internet and therefore if he was questioning this, he was questioning our marriage! Haha

            Really looking forward to it!

            K x

  23. Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Alas unable to come but such a wonderful idea.

  24. Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Will anyone be getting into Paddington?
    Also is anyone not on twitter? If so they should definitely e-mail Anna who is valiantly finding pretty places to stay! Or me if you feel like it ( xxx

  25. Helena
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I would love (well, love while feeling a bit nervous too) to come too please. Last time I met someone off the internet I married him so what can possibly go wrong….

  26. ClaireH
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    *deep breath* Please can I come too?

    p.s. Helena and Katy W – I also met Chris via the internet but I’ve just tried to explain about AOW/this meet up to him and he was quite confused (until I related it to football…).

  27. Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m so there! Can’t believe I missed this yesterday, Roz alerted me this evening – I was clearly sucked into my latest trilogy and have been in Imardin for the past week!!

    Just looking into trains now, delighted that it’s a Sat this time and I won’t have to take time off work to come down. Fri night seems to be cheaper though so prob going to arrive at midnight or maybe get the sleeper!

  28. Rach M
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Horrified and heartbroken to miss this. Please can it be live tweeted, for the rest of us to live through vicariously? x

  29. Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Can I come? I got married last year but my hen do was a bit odd (not the fault of my lovely hens more to do with a place that was once cool being overrun by stag and hen parties which kind of killed the atmosphere. Please?

    • Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      you’re obviously coming. come. you must come.

  30. Emily
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I have a giant red net petticoat that could be a very long tutu… Would that make the grade?

  31. Emily
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    By the way, that was a roundabout way of saying can I come please? :)

    • Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      obviously you and your red tutu must come! x

  32. Amanda M
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I kind of would like to come along but I may chicken out at the last minute…

    • Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      DO NOT CHICKEN OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE! That is an order.

  33. Chirsty
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I know I am REALLY late getting on this bandwagon but I have managed to re-arrange a visit from the mother and am now FREEEE!
    Can I tag along? Pretty please?

3 Trackbacks

  • By Notes From KL on January 24, 2013 at 7:21 am

    [...] more thing…If you haven’t signed up already but you want to go to the marvellous Any Other Hen Do, go and leave a comment and we’ll make sure you get an invitation with alllll of the [...]

  • By The Rules on February 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

    [...] all those who want to come to the AOW Hen Do!  We’ll be sending out an email this week to confirm attendance.   So, if you want to come [...]

  • By Any Other Hen Do: So, What Happened? on March 12, 2013 at 7:02 am

    [...] had our hen do.  It was brilliant.  It really truly [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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